The fleece of sheep has been used to make human clothing since the Stone Age. Science is yet to produce a fibre that can match the unique qualities of wool.
Wool has long been considered a valuable commodity. When Richard I was captured in 1192, Cistercian monks paid their part of the large ransom to the Holy Roman emperor in 50,000 sacks of wool (a year’s clip).
Wool acts as a natural insulator to keep you warm in cold weather, but because it is naturally breathable, it also helps keep you cool when it’s hot, providing optimal comfort. This doesn’t just apply to clothing either — choose a wool blanket for your bed over synthetic fibres, down and even cotton — these do not breathe as well, therefore trapping heat in the bed and making you uncomfortable. Check out the Flock range of wool blankets, available in a variety of sizes.
Wool’s breathable qualities also come in handy when it’s wet. Wool fibres absorb moisture away from the body, releasing it into the air, and wool fabrics can absorb up to 30% of their weight before they start to feel damp, or heavy. A brilliant bonus in rainy Britain!
There are more than 900 breeds of sheep in the world and the wool used to make our beautiful Flock blankets and scarves comes from a small flock of Ryeland and Romney sheep, which is based at Holbrook Farm, in Oxfordshire. Both breeds are known for their excellent quality wool.
Sheep’s wool naturally has a high level of UV protection — yet another reason to wear it all year round.
Wool also has a high ignition point of around 750°C, giving it natural fire-resistant properties.
The record for the fastest time taken to shear a sheep — 39.31 seconds —is held by Australia’s Hilton Barrett.
Australia produces the highest amount of wool in the world at 284,000 tonnes a year. In comparison, the UK produces about 34,000 tonnes of wool per year.